Most people aren’t willing to pay for the news content that they view on the Internet, and it appears the New York Times is realizing this. As of midnight tonight, the NYT will no longer charge users to view their TimesSelect content. TimesSelect was a paid service that gave subscribers access to the Op-Ed columnists, and The Times Archive. Those who wanted to view any of that content had to pay $7.95 per month or $49.95 per year.
In a letter to their readers, Senior Vice President of the NYT, Vivian Schiller said the change came because "since we launched TimesSelect in 2005, the online landscape has altered significantly. Readers increasingly find news through search, as well as through social networks, blogs and other online sources." Schiller mentioned search, and it’s an important topic. Over the last two years since the TimesSelect program started, many people were directed to articles at the New York Times (via blogs, other sites, etc.) which they found to be unavailable to them unless they paid. And who really wants to pay to see just one article?
The NYT now realizes that there’s a lot of money to be made via advertisements from all the people trying to view articles in The Times Archive. Sure, they managed to make around $10 million per year off of their subscribers, but they only had 227,000 of them willing to pay. Many, many more people than that surely tried to access their content. Now the NYT will be able to make more money by opening their content to everybody and advertising, versus limiting their content to only paid subscribers.
Thanks to the prevalence of programs like Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher which give news mediums a way to make a profit, we’re seeing subscription services go down the tubes which just means we have access to more information and more content. The New York Times wasn’t the first media source to ditch the concept of paid content, and they surely won’t be the last. Now all I’d like to see is Consumer Reports take this route, but that’s probably just wishful thinking…
Source: Download Squad